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Lavant Horticultural Society, Chichester

Lavant Horticultuiral Society
White bearded iris

A short selection of things to do in the garden at this time, also published each month in the Lavant News

May (to look back to April, click on the apple blossom to the right).

Don’t let the warm sunshine tempt you to put plants out too soon - frosts are still possible. Harden off Indoor-raised plants by putting them out in the warmest part of the day first and then extending the time they spend outside. If in doubt, leave very tender plants, like dahlias and cannas, until June starts – they can quickly

Bearded iris

make up for a short delay, but a cold snap can really leave them struggling

Prune spring flowering shrubs immediately after flowering, to give plenty of time for the new shoots that will bear next spring’s flowers to develop.

Likewise, Clematis montana can be trimmed back after flowering and will take even hard cutting back very well. However, only do this if it is getting out of hand; otherwise it is best left to look after itself.

Primroses can be increased by dividing large plants immediately after flowering; plant the divisions in a nursery bed (or pot them up, if there is not space for this) so they can develop throughout the summer, ready to be planted out in the autumn where you want them to flower next spring.

Put out codling moth pheromone traps by the middle of the month. These help protect apples and pears from the small caterpillars that ruin the fruit with their maggoty holes. Similarly, plum moth pheromone traps can help protect plums, gages and damsons.

The end of May is “Chelsea chop” time: late flowering perennials, such as Echinacea, Helenium, Sedum and Phlox paniculata, can be cut back by one third to one half. This will delay flowering, but gives more sturdy plants that need less support. Flower size may be reduced, but there will be more of them. Cutting back just the front half of a large clump can extend the overall period of flowering.

Even with greenhouse doors and vents open, on very sunny days shading will be needed to prevent plants wilting or being scorched. Shade netting put over the outside of the greenhouse has the advantage that it can easily be drawn back in cooler, cloudy weather.

Click above to look back to

April

Click below for

more comprehensive

advice for this month

from the RHS

Fruit pollination

With a multitude of varieties to choose from, finding the essential combinations to ensure good pollination can seem a bit of a puzzle.

Click the picture above for an easy guide.

Wildlife in the garden

The wildlife-friendly garden

Click above for more on this topic

from the RSPB.

Butterflies: first sightings

Click picture to find out more.

Click above for RHS

information on plants good

for bees & pollinators.